UK opens Apple investigation into app store monopoly allegations

    App developers complain about unfair and anti-competitive conditions

    The UK competition regulator said on Thursday (4) that it opened an investigation against Apple after complaints that the conditions of the App Store, its app store, for developers are unfair and anti-competitive.

    The investigation will detect whether Apple has a dominant position in the distribution of apps for iPhone and iPad in the United Kingdom, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

    The agency also wants to identify whether the company “imposes unfair or anti-competitive conditions on developers” that result in less choice or higher prices for consumers.

    According to the rules of the App Store, digital content can only be purchased through the Apple system. It is not possible to download apps for iPhones and iPads other than through the official store.

    Store-related payment policies are targets for complaints from app developers, as they require them to use the company’s payment system, which charges commissions between 15% and 30%.

    The company is also in contention with Epic Games, creator of the popular game “Fortnite”, which last year tried to avoid the 30% tax by launching its own payment system, prompting Apple to ban Fortnite from its store.

    With protests from developers, the company halved small business commissions in early 2021.

    Developers who earn less than $ 1 million a year pay a 15% fee on transactions through the iPhone, iPad and Mac app store.

    UNDERSTAND: why the game ‘Fortnite’ is challenging the App Store business model in Justice
    “The App Store has been a successful engine for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place – applied fairly and equally to all developers – to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant collection data without your consent, “said Apple.

    The company is also being investigated for similar reasons by Dutch competition authorities, who are approaching a decision, Reuters reported last month.

    Last year the European Commission also opened an investigation against Apple over the fees charged by the App Store.

    “Complaints that Apple is using its market position to define unfair terms or restrict competition and choice – potentially causing losses to customers – deserve careful examination,” said CMA President Andrea Coscelli.

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